Economic Aspects of the Peasant-Led National Palestinian Revolt, 1936-39

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Amos Nadan Tel Aviv University

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This paper examines economic aspects of the Arab Revolt of 1936-39, which was, beyond doubt, a national Palestinian revolt. It is suggested that, while the rebels, most of whom were peasants, acted collectively for national causes, many of them also perceived personal economic and rural collective interests in participating and acted to pursue economic and national goals simultaneously. This analysis helps explain why peasants comprised the main rebel force, why many of them were “landless” and from the poorest stratum of Palestinian rural society, why militias tended to be small, why banditry became dominant in 1938, and how economic motivations fueled an internal Arab-Palestinian civil war.

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